The "Between Life and Death” Exhibition in Bucharest

Klara Jackl / English translation: Andrew Rajcher, 9th October 2019
Romania commemorates its National Holocaust Remembrance Day of 9th October. As part of the commemorations the exhibition "Between Life and Death - Stories of Rescue During the Holocaust” was opened on 3rd October at the Romanian Peasant Museum. The exhibition tells the stories of the rescue of Jews during the Holocaust in many European countries. The exhibition will remain on display until 19th October.

This is the first time that the English-language exhibition "Between Life and Death - Stories of Rescue During the Holocaust” has been shown in Romania. Following Brussels, Amsterdam, Bratislava, Wilna and Wrocław, this is its sixth presentation. Its Romanian showing has been supplemented with a new section showing the history of the Holocaust and the survival of Jews in this country. Two stories were highlighted - that of filmmaker Andrei Călăraşu who, as a 19 year old, survived the dramatic transport of Jews from Iasi to a labour camp, and that of Magdalena Stroe, a Righteous Among the Nations, who rescued her school friend Hanna Hamburg. The panel about the history of Romania was prepared in conjunction with the Eli Wiesel Holocaust Research Institute.

The Exhibition's Showing in Bucharest

The exhibition was opened by Virgil Nitulescu, the director of the hosting venue, the Romanian Peasant Museum. Director Nitulescu spoke about the recent change in the discourse on the Holocaust in Romania and about the relationship between an admission of guilt and the recognition of merit. He said, "It was only in 2004 tha the Romanian state formally accepted responsibility for its part in the Holocaust. [...] Negativism has no historical basis and must be fought against with the same force with which we emphasise the exceptional cases of some citizens who proved their solidarity with others, especially when faced with the danger of death".

Prof. Jan Rydel, Coordinator of the European Remembrance and Solidaroty Network spoke, as did Alexandru Florian, Director of the Eli Wiesel Holocaust Research Institute, who said:

Looking at this exhibiton, one can only think that, even today, by remaining indifferent and not responding to undemocratic or illiberal decisions by authorities which affect others, we enable occurences of tragedies similar to the Holocaust. The is the exhibition's message and the lesson we must learn.

More about the exhibition opening can be found of the website of the European Remembrance and Solidarity Network.

The Exhibition "Between Life and Death”

During the Holocaust, six million Jews died in German-occupied Europe. Confronted by mass crimes, civilians were faced with a difficult challenge – how to respond to these acts of genocide. Attitudes towards the Holocaust varied, but only a few decided to help persecuted Jews.

It tells of their experiences, efforts and motivations, It draws the viewer’s attention to acts of courage and to the will to survive.  In an historical context, it shows the fates of heroes from Poland and also from eleven European countries – Croatia, DenmarkFrancethe Netherlands, Lithuania, Germany, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Ukraine and Hungary. The exhibition shows the conditions within these countries under occupation. It also describes the multi-dimensional relationships and emotional ties that were born between the rescued and the rescuers.

» More: Read about the "Between Life and Death" Exhibition

The exhibition “Between Life and Death – Stories of Rescue During the Holocaust” was created by European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Silent Heroes Memorial Centre. To date, it has been shown in the Brussels headquarters of the European Commission, the Castrum Peregrini Cultural Centre in Amsterdam, the Bratislava University Library, the Gaon State Jewish Museum in Vilnius and the Centrum Historii Zajezdnia in Wrocław .

The exhibition can be viewed between 3rd and 19th October 2109 at the Romanian Peasant Museum , 3 Monetăriei Street.

The exhibition is in the Engliahs language.

Stories regarding the exhibition's previous openings can be viewed via the links below:

» The European Commission in Brussels24/01/2018-06/03/2018

» Castrum Peregrini in Amsterdam, 13/06/2018-15/08/2018

» University Library in Bratislava, 09/11/2018-29/11/2018

» Gaon of Wilna Museum, 24/01/2019-17/03/2019

» Centrum Historii Zajezdnia in Wrocław, 07/04/2019-30/04/2019

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Authors of the Exhibition: Dr. Martyna Grądzka-Rejak (ENRS) and Klara Jackl (POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews), in cooperation with Marta Ansilewska-Lehnstaedt (Silent Heroes Memorial Centre)

Academic consultants: Dr. Aleksandra Namysło, Prof. Jan Rydel (ENRS), Dr. Piotr Trojański (ENRS), Prof. Johannes Tuchel (Silent Heroes Memorial Centre)

Organisers: European Network Remembrance and Solidarity, POLIN Museum of the History of Polish Jews and Silent Heroes Memorial Centre in German Resistance Memorial Centre Foundation

Financial support: Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage, Federal Government Representative for Culture and Media (BKM)

Partners: Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum, Memorial of Chambon-sur-Lignon, Mémorial de la Shoah, Danish Jewish Museum, "Tkuma” Ukrainian Institute for Holocaust Studies, Castrum Peregrini, NIOD, the Institute for War, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Museum of the Second World War in Gdańsk